To avoid excessive regulatory demands on the community, all residents, businesses, government bodies, and industry are encouraged to voluntarily adopt behaviors and actions that protect our groundwater resources.
For Planning and ZoningEfforts to protect groundwater resources need to occur at all levels of government and can include:
- Monitor groundwater quality to detect contamination, evaluate pollution reduction efforts, and conduct research to understand fully the risks to groundwater.
- Implement informational programs to change behaviors that place groundwater at risk, and raise awareness about aquifers and the need for groundwater protection.
- Prevent groundwater contamination in Drinking Water Protection Areas through spill prevention and spill response.
- Collaborate with county and state agencies in groundwater protection efforts.
- Strengthen City policies, development review process and program management to ensure groundwater protection goals are met.
- Implement land use plans which take into account groundwater vulnerability and prioritize groundwater resource protection;
- Develop zoning ordinance and site plan review standards related to aboveground secondary containment, interior floor drains, and septic system maintenance, on-site community treatment systems, site plan review, pollution prevention, groundwater conservation, and wellhead protection;
- Purchase of land and/or conservation easements to provide a wellhead protection buffer around municipal well fields; and
- Public education through public meetings, school-based classroom programs, library displays, cable television videos, public information flyers, and municipal newsletters.
Local governments can also take measures that may improve groundwater, including requiring:
- man-made wetlands;
- terraced, overland flow systems;
- package plants;
- sand-filter systems; and
- greenhouse, peat, and bio-filter systems
Developers should view groundwater as a shared resource critical for future economic development, not only in their developed area but also among their surrounding neighbors and community. Plan accordingly and be knowledgeable of the rules and regulations for groundwater, stormwater, wastewater, and floodplains.
- Know the groundwater resource beneath your property:
- Direction of groundwater flow
- Any floodplain boundaries
- Know the historical land uses of your property and whether any prior activities had the potential to contaminate soil and groundwater. Remediate the property as necessary and inform purchasers of the property history.
- Limit impervious surfaces
- Review and adhere to all zoning, subdivision regulations, and site plans that address groundwater quality and quantity
- Properly dispose of household hazardous chemicals and wastes. Do not dispose of these items in sewers or storm drains. Many common household products, (paint thinners, mothballs, drain and oven cleaners, etc.) contain toxic ingredients. When improperly used or discarded, these products are a threat to public health and the environment. Do not pour hazardous products down any drain or toilet. Do not discard with regular household trash. The Bannock County Landfill provides household hazardous waste collection for county residents the first Saturday of every month from April through October.
- Use natural alternatives to chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and household cleaning products.
- Apply lawn and garden chemicals sparingly and according to directions.
- Clean up spilled brake fluid, oil, grease, and antifreeze.
- Limit the amount of impenetrable surfaces in your landscape.
- Allow thick vegetation or buffer strips to grow along waterways to slow runoff and soak up pollutants.
- Get involved in the planning and zoning process in your community. That is where the decisions are made that shape the course of development and the future quality of our environment.
- Recycle all used motor oil by taking it to a service station or local recycling center. Do not dump used motor oil down storm drains or on the ground.
- Animal wastes contain bacteria and viruses. Pet owners should pick up after their pets and dispose of the wastes in the garbage or toilet.
For Private Well Owners
You can protect your water supply by carefully managing activities near your private well, including keeping contaminants away from sinkholes and the well itself. Hazardous chemicals should also be kept out of septic systems.
- Periodically inspect exposed parts of the well for problems such as:
- cracked, corroded, or damaged well casing
- broken or missing well cap
- settling and cracking of surface seals
- Slope the area around the well to drain surface runoff away from the well.
- Install a well cap or sanitary seal to prevent unauthorized use of, or entry into, the well by people or animals.
- Disinfect drinking water wells at least once per year with bleach or hypochlorite granules, according to the manufacturer’s directions.
- Have the well tested once a year for coliform bacteria, nitrate, and other constituents of concern.
- Keep accurate records of any well maintenance, such as disinfection or sediment removal, that may require the use of chemicals in the well.
- Hire a certified well driller for any new well construction, modification, or abandonment and closure.
- Avoid mixing or using pesticides, fertilizers, herbicides, degreasers, fuels, and other pollutants near the well.
- Do not dispose of wastes in dry wells or in abandoned wells.
- Do not cut off the well casing below the land surface.
- Pump and inspect septic systems annually or as recommended by the local health department.
- Never dispose of pharmaceuticals or hazardous materials in a septic system.
Links of Interest for Private Well Owners:
- EPA web site – http://water.epa.gov/drink/info/well/
- Centers for Disease, Control, and Prevention – http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/private/wells/testing.html
- National Sanitation Foundation – http://www.nsf.org/consumer/drinking_water/dw_well.asp?program=WaterTre
- Southeastern District Health Department – http://www.sdhdidaho.org/eh/drinkingwater.php